LUX ÆTERNA takes place backstage of a French film production, often utilizing split-screens to follow two characters at once. Charlotte Gainsbourg, acting as herself, plays the film’s — and the film-within-a-film’s — leading role of an actress taking on the role of a witch burned at the stake while French actress Beatrice Dalle, playing a version of herself as well, takes on the on-screen role of director. The film progresses with mounting tension as the set descends into aggressive chaos— both in style, form, and plot. Actress and model Abbey Lee (The Neon Demon), Karl Glusman (Love), Claude-Emmanuelle Gajan-Maull (Climax), Félix Maritaud (Sauvage / Wild, Knife + Heart), and Clara Deshayes also appear as interpretations of themselves.
Narcissism, gaslighting, sexism, celebrity, the industry as a whole, everything is on the line in this 50 minutes of coordinated chaos. Toxicity and ass-kissing intermingled with personal drama, as each actor in LUX ÆTERNA plays a version of themselves. As the tension mounts, who and how will each player respond when “art” is on the line?
The lighting, which comes with a trigger warning before the film begins, is undeniably jarring. Combined with the incessant ringing of an alarm, it’s a visceral invasion. In tandem with the distress of Charlotte on screen, the viewer slowly finds themselves on sensory overload.
Charlotte Gainsbourg can do no wrong in my book. She possesses a vulnerability that is unsurpassed. The amount of trust she has in Gaspar Noé astounds me with each additional project. Gainsbourg understood the assignment.
In true Gaspar Noé fashion, LUX ÆTERNA pushes the boundaries of color, sound, and content. Few filmmakers have a style that screams their name, and Noé has cultivated that skill. In a short runtime, LUX ÆTERNA has a lot to say. Welcome to one of the most unexpected and raw moments of exploitation.
Following a successful theatrical run across the United States from May into early June that put the film in the top 10 indies at the box office, Yellow Veil Pictures will release Gaspar Noe’s LUX ÆTERNA on digital platforms including Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, and more this Friday, June 10th in North America, followed by a 2-disc Collector’s Edition Blu-Ray available summer 2022. LUX ÆTERNA is currently available for digital pre-order on Vimeo on Demand.